Just as we are all recovering from Cate Blanchett’s Lydia Tár, news of another gay icon playing a complex, morally complicated lesbian arrives. Rachel Weisz is beloved by the community for her masterful wielding of a sword in The Mummy series, for spitting in Rachel McAdams’ mouth in Disobedience, and for giving the Queen a good tongue-lashing in The Favourite. Now she is playing gay once again in a new lesbian, gender-swapped remake of David Cronenberg’s 1988 cult film Dead Ringers.
The upcoming series is an adaptation of the psychosexual horror classic, with Weisz taking on the role of the twin gynaecologists originally played by Jeremy Irons. Identical from head to toe, the doctors are described as “the most successful, brilliant and extraordinary people you’ve never met” and are on a mission to change the way women give birth, even if that means pushing the boundaries of medical ethics.
Like in the original film, Weisz’s Mantle twins share everything from drugs to lovers but this new series will put a stronger focus on women’s healthcare, including underfunding and lack of protection around bodily autonomy. Still, the gruesome, provocative debauchery of Cronenberg’s version remains. “I think from our very first conversation, it was about this very intense relationship at the centre of it, and these doctors being almost like gods,” screenwriter Alice Birch told Vogue. “They’re having a really wild time before it all goes wrong.”
The series will premiere on April 21 on Amazon Prime. In other news from the lesbian film desk, last week it was announced that Kristen Stewart will be playing Susan Sontag in an upcoming biopic based on the biography by Ben Moser. Director Kristen Johnson will be co-writing the script with Lisa Kron (who wrote the lyrics and book for Fun Home), so it’s an all-around gay affair. A writer, philosopher and activist, Sontag is best known for her essays including “Notes on Camp”. When she died in 2004, she had been in a relationship with legendary fashion photographer Annie Lebowitz for 15 years.
We also got our first look at Bottoms, Emma Seligman’s upcoming lesbian fight club movie starring Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri. The film, which is premiering at SXSW in March, follows two unpopular queer girls in their senior year who start a fight club to try to impress and hook up with cheerleaders, and have sex before graduation.